Branding Guidelines for Small Business

Table of Contents

Branding your small business is not about you, the owner, but about your customer and how they perceive your product or service. Your customer should have a personal attachment to your brand so let’s start with the basics. Follow these simple guidelines to success.


Keep it simple. Relate the name to what you do so future customers viewing your brand will know. The difference between picking a name such as Coca Cola, which does not relate to function, and a small business brand that does, is a huge marketing budget. So, stick to the basics when branding for small business. Initials, usually, are not a good choice unless the small business owner is recognized geographically. Even considering this, initials can be limiting for expansion outside the region so consider wisely when picking this option.

Remember, your brand will live as your small business symbol for a long time. It should not be confining. Consider “Home Improvement” for a handyman, or “Wikipedia” for an online encyclopedia. These are brands that tell you the service or product by reading the name and allow for expansion. Check out your competitors and see how they’ve branded. New ideas of things to avoid or improve will come through this exercise.


Tagline is the second item of the brand. When picking your name, the small business owner should also be thinking of a tagline that represents the mission. Consider “SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business.” A strong statement that tells the customer what “SCORE” does. Another is “EDAWN, Life Business Balance.” Again, a great tagline for the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. What should your small business tagline say about you? Follow the branding guidelines and keep it simple. Say what you do and how you feel about it. Your customers must identify with the brand to remember it.


The logo is the third part of the brand, equal in importance. A picture says a thousand words so pick something that compliments your small business name and tagline. Consider a hammer for a handyman or carpenter and a field of flowers for a dairy. The logo should tug at emotions and pull your customer into the vision. The logo could be flowers or water or the earth or clouds.

All these pictures bring different thoughts to mind. If the small business is cutting trees, then a pine tree might be appropriate. Brainstorm about the image that will remain in the mind of your customer and project the feeling your small business represents.


The small business owner must put their brand on everything which includes brochures, stationery, webpage, advertisements, and business cards. Make sure the brand is ageless and represents you and your customer. Take your time branding your small business.